May 27th, 2012
Tokyo Swallows 1
Streak: Lost 8 Last 8: LLLLLLLL
(Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium)
Heading into this evening’s encounter against the visiting Tohoku Eagles, Tokyo hadn’t scored a run since the fifth inning of Thursday’s game. That’s a lengthy 22 innings straight, but the Jingu faithful would have to wait a bit longer for someone to finally do their job with runners in scoring position.
|W: Kamata (1-0; 2.00 ERA) L: Tateyama (3-4; 2.47 ERA)|
I’ll try to stay as positive as I can even though Tokyo slipped into the bottom half of the league with today’s loss and Hanshin’s 3-2 win over Saitama (yes, the same Saitama that outscored us 18-0 over the last two games).
|Hijirisawa (CF)||1||Iihara (LF)|
|Ginji (2B)||2||Morioka (SS)|
|Takasu (3B)||3||Milledge (CF)|
|Garcia (1B)||4||Balentien (RF)|
|Nakamura (LF)||5||Hatakeyama (1B)|
|Terrero (RF)||6||Miyamoto (3B)|
|Masuda (SS)||7||Aikawa (C)|
|Oyama (C)||8||Tanaka (2B)|
|Kamata (P)||9||Tateyama (P)|
In the bottom of the first inning, all three hitters made decent contact, but Milledge grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning after Morioka’s single to left center with one out.
Tateyama looked OK during the first couple of innings. His control wasn’t superb, but he recorded a few strikeouts despite facing full counts on a number
of occasions. His changeup looked good early on, and he also induced a couple of grounders to help him start off on the right foot.
In the bottom of the second, Balentien got pitched around once again and found himself on first after just five pitches. Hatakeyama wasted his at-bat with a pop fly in foul territory over by first base for out number one. Miyamoto got a bit of a break, however, when Takasu couldn’t come up with a hot grounder with Balentien having taken off early for second. Both runners were safe as the ball found its way into left field.
Aikawa then drew a walk to load the bases with one out. Yet another chance for the Swallows to strand some runners! Tanaka battled hard, but he struck out swinging. And that brought Tateyama to the plate. He followed in Tanaka’s footsteps (sans swing), and the birds continued their frustrating streak of not being able to do anything with runners in scoring position. No. Soup. For. You.
Tateyama let a runner on thanks to an infield single to start the third, but next up was fortunately rookie pitcher, Kamata, who had a hard time laying down a bunt and eventually hit into a double play. Speedster Hijirisawa lined a single to right but then got thrown out trying to swipe second to end the inning.
The top of the lineup then went down in order to conclude the third inning. That seems to happen a lot.
The game was officially over shortly thereafter. A leadoff HBP (hardly touched him, the baby) was followed by a one-out single to give the visitors their first real opportunity to put a run on the board. And unlike the Swallows’ anemic offense, the Eagles bats came through (with a little help from us, of course).
The first two runs came around on Nakamura’s double off the wall in right. Another run scored on Morioka’s inexplicable throwing error to first which short-hopped Hatakeyama’s glove and had the unfortunate side effect of allowing the runner to make it all the way to third.
The fourth and final run came on a sac fly to the warning track in left.
Tokyo 0-4 Tohoku.
Tokyo’s next chance would come in the bottom of the sixth with a little help from rookie pitcher, Kamata, who up to that point looked like he was safely on his way to his first career win in his second appearance.
Milledge reached on a high-and-tight pitch that caught him in the arm, and he was able to move to second on Kamata’s next offering, a wild pitch to Balentien. But Coco went down swinging at a surprise pitch up near his chin for out number one.
Hatakeyama then struck out swinging, and Miyamoto flied out to second on the first pitch to strand another runner in scoring position.
But you’ll never believe what happened next; after an offensive drought that felt like it lasted for weeks, the birds finally plated a run!
Aikawa led off by drawing a walk, and then he reached second safely on Tanaka’s infield single to just left of first base. Pinch-hitter extraordinaire, Fujimoto, struck out swinging, but Iihara ripped a single to center that plated Aikawa from second.
Tokyo 1-4 Tohoku.
That was a 28 inning drought for those that are counting.
And that’s how the game ended. Tokyo never threatened again.
Tateyama took the loss for the birds, his fourth in a row. His record is now 3-4, and as you may have seen at the bottom of the boxscore, his ERA is now 2.47. He gave up five hits over as many innings of work while striking out a striking out seven (which tied his season high from back on April 18th at Koshien). He threw 85 pitches and gave only one free base (HBP) while allowing four runs on his watch (just two earned due to the Morioka error).
Both Hatakeyama and Tanaka had multi-hit games (two singles each).
Yamamoto pitched two innings and didn’t allow a hit (one walk). He also struck out three.
Barnette made his first appearance in more than a week. With the team down 1-4, he struck out all three batters he faced.
Aikawa drew two walks (officially 0-2 at the plate).
Morioka grounded out to second four at-bats in a row. He also appears to be bereft of a throwing arm.
Balentien’s last two at-bats ended by swinging at pitches well out of the zone (and not connecting).
Miyamoto is on a 1-15 streak at the plate over his last four starts.
This marks the first time since the Takada era that the birds have lost eight in a row.
Tokyo finish the week with a seasonal W-L tally one game below .500 and half of a game behind the third place Tigers.
The Eagles are in town for one more night. Tomorrow’s game is scheduled for 6PM, and as of the time of publication, there’s a 50% chance of rain projected for downtown Tokyo.
Tuesday is currently reserved as a rain day in case tomorrow’s game gets cancelled.
After that, Hokkaido are in town on Wednesday and Thursday. There will be a Meikyukai-related ceremony for Miyamoto on the 30th. All three of Tokyo’s upcoming home games start at 6PM.